There’s a very popular lectin out there that gets a lot of press — it’s likely the first lectin that pops into your mind when someone asks you what lectins are: gluten. But how do you know if you have a sensitivity to gluten if you’ve not had a test for gluten intolerance?
Surprisingly, there happen to be quite a few ways you can check to see if you have a wheat allergy or other kind of food intolerance. But you might be wondering if it’s worth it to put in the time. The fact is, though, it is worth it. It always pays to know more about your body and the food you put in it.
The test many doctors use to determine if you have a gluten sensitivity examines the level of deamidated gliadin antibodies in your bloodstream. Gliadin is one of the most significant lectins in gluten.1
Should you go to the doctor to test for gluten intolerance? Sensitivity to gluten should be taken seriously, and gluten-free foods may still be loaded with lectins.
What Is Gluten Intolerance And What Are Some Signs? What Is The Prevalence Of This Food Allergy?
Gluten is just one of the toxic proteins found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. 2It’s possible you’ve heard of celiac disease, wheat allergy, and gluten sensitivity, but these three health concerns differ from one another.
The bottom line when it comes to each type of gluten issue is that the lectin, gluten, is a toxic plant protein. Your body knows it is toxic and your immune system does its best to attack it as thus. When it comes to fighting a gluten allergy or celiac health issue, your body is doing the best it can.
But when your body’s immune defense system is activated, it can lead to internal damage and an array of uncomfortable symptoms like:
- Mouth sores
- Alternating bowel habits
- Discomfort in your upper/lower abdomen
- Iron-deficiency anemia (low red blood cell count)
- Dermatitis herpetiformis (intense itchy rash)3,4,5
If you think your body might be experiencing a wheat allergy or gluten sensitivity and you’re considering a gluten-free lifestyle, you’re not alone. Food intolerance is pretty common. And gluten allergies (not to include celiac health issues) might actually affect a good 13% of the population. 6
But most people don’t know the discomfort they’re experiencing may be caused by issues with the lectin.
Should You Go To Your Doctor To Test For Gluten Intolerance? What To Do About Sensitivity To Gluten
Believe it or not, celiac patients make up around 1% of the population. In this country, that means that celiac disease could affect approximately 3 million people7
In fact, the older you get, the higher your risk for celiac issues becomes. Celiac patients tend to experience significant compromises in the lining of their small intestines.
Here’s why: Your body produces a specific gluten antibody. It is known as an endomysial antibody. The antibody can sometimes cause intestinal swelling and can damage the lining of your small intestine. Damage to the small intestines can lead to several different types of digestive health problems.8,9
It’s usually a pretty good idea to visit your doctor if you have questions about any kind of health concern. And those concerns can include autoimmune disorders, celiac disease, food intolerance, any kind of food allergy, or anything that just doesn’t feel quite right.
What Does Dr. Gundry Have to Say About a Gluten-Free Diet? Is a Gluten-Free Lifestyle Beneficial?
When asking Dr. Gundry if a gluten-free lifestyle is beneficial, he has a lot to say on the matter. You see, food marketers have turned the term “gluten-free” into a buzz word. This is because they can make and sell plenty of processed gluten free foods. But gluten free foods are not the answer when it comes to helping you feel better.
Gluten intolerance may be part of the answer to your health woes, but it’s likely that your body is reacting to a larger enemy — all dietary lectins.
Every food that contains gluten contains dietary lectins. But not every food that has lectins also has gluten. Even gluten-free grains can contain lectins. So, if you shift your habits to only eat gluten-free lectins, you’re only eliminating a tiny piece of the problem.
There are thousands upon thousands of dangerous lectins — like gluten — out there. And so many of those lectins are even worse than gluten.
Gluten-free diet products could actually lead to more significant damage than you might think. Each of the following common gluten substitutions contains harmful dietary lectins:
That’s part of the reason that, though some believe they’ll experience weight loss when switching to gluten free foods, those who opt for processed gluten free alternatives can experience weight gain.
Gluten-Free Products and Lectins: Do Gluten-Free Foods Contain More Lectins and How Can This Affect Digestion?
The big problem when it comes to finding gluten-free replacements is that you’ll look for processed substitutions like gluten-free snacks, desserts, and meals. But a gluten-free cookie can have more lectins — and more sugar — than a traditional cookie. That’s a problem for your small intestine (and the rest of your body).
You have to know that most gluten-free foods are not grain-free. And if diet foods have grains, they likely also have lectins. The only lectin-free grains are millet and sorghum. So do your best to think about gluten as just an example of a toxic lectin. So, make every effort to eliminate all lectins from your diet.
A Gluten-free Diet Isn’t The Answer, But A Lectin-free Diet Could Be
In the end, don’t despair. The Gundry Diet actually takes care of gluten sensitivity for you. If you reduce your lectin intake, overall, you’ll automatically rid your diet of gluten and its toxic compatriots.
Of course, any major dietary change (or lifestyle change for that matter) can be daunting, but once you begin to cut out detrimental foods, you’ll discover it’s not as hard as you think. There will always be moments that challenge you, but moments come and go.
So, it’s best to eliminate all lectins from your diet. You’ll be glad you did — and you’ll also enjoy getting to be a bit more creative in the kitchen.